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eBook File Formatting Tips

Use the source document for your eBook content whenever possible. For instance, if your PDF was created from a Microsoft Word document, use the original Word file instead of the PDF. If your document was created with another publishing tool, try using the "Save as" or "Export" feature to export as HTML or Microsoft Word.
A guide to publishing on Amazon
 


Microsoft Word

The initial formatting you've chosen in Word may be slightly altered to conform to Kindle device specifications. For optimum readability on the Kindle device, it is best to save your Word (DOC/DOCX) file as "Web Page - filtered" or "HTML - filtered." Don't upload your content with Track Changes on.

The wording in the "Save As" dialog changes between Microsoft Word versions, but the best results are usually achieved with "HTML filtered" or "Web Page - filtered", depending on what version of Word you have. Review your content in Word after you've saved it as HTML and make any necessary changes, saving it again. Then upload the HTML file in Amazon KDP.

If you can't save your content as HTML, be aware that the conversion from Microsoft Word to Amazon KDP's format will inevitably lose some formatting information in the process. Microsoft Word format comes with a few quirks and not all file format details are well documented.

  • Lists in Microsoft Word documents, especially nested lists with subcategories, do not convert well.
  • If you change list numbering between numerals and letters (e.g., I, II, III, a, b, c, 2.1.3), the conversion may also provide less than satisfying results.
  • If you use tables of contents in your files, page numbers will not be updated correctly (since the text size and page numbers in a reflowable format don't mean the same thing as in a fixed-display format). Make sure to use the standard Microsoft Word heading styles and Table of Contents insertion for best results.
  • If you're using the Microsoft Word Equation tool, not all mathematical notations will convert well. We suggest converting the equation into an image (recommended: 300 DPI PNG).
For more information on how to use Microsoft Word, check out their support page.



HTML

Avoid frames. Some electronic books have a frame (e.g., on the left side of the page) with bookmarks or chapter information, and the content in a frame on the right. If you upload HTML, the ideal content is in a single HTML file, with references to additional image files in the same folder (zipped up).

You can use the <table> tag to create tables. If you have a large table, split it into multiple tables for best results.

For more information on formatting your tables, see section 3.7 of the Kindle Publishing Guidelines.

Kindle Create allows you to add interactive content to eBooks, such as audio, video, images, and hyperlinks.



TXT

Format all text into paragraphs. Any hard line breaks that you insert into a text file (pressing "Enter") will make your text display poorly. Use two line breaks (press "Enter" twice) to separate lines of paragraphs.

  • Any HTML tags inside a text file will be ignored and displayed as plain text, showing the actual HTML code. You can't mix HTML and plain text.
  • Even though plain text using unusual characters and glyphs may display fine on your computer, it won't necessarily convert well to Kindle. Check the list of supported characters to make sure.


PDF

We accept PDF files, but they can contain embedded formatting and images that don't convert well to eBooks. If you own the source from which the PDF was generated (such as a Microsoft Word file), we strongly suggest that you use the program you originally used to create the document to export or save the content as HTML.

Video: PDF to eBook

You can also try using Kindle Create. This is a downloadable tool that helps you convert PDFs and allows you to add interactive content, such as audio, video, images, and hyperlinks. Learn more about Kindle Create.

If you're unable to save the content as HTML, try to export or save the content in a format where you can open it with Microsoft Word, and save it as HTML from there. If you can't get your content out of the PDF format, refer to these troubleshooting tips:

  • The exact layout of my PDF was lost. Conversion usually can't retain exact formatting because PDF is a fixed layout format that is designed for printing. Amazon KDP uses a reflowable format that is designed to be displayed on screens that differ greatly in size and width/height ratio. For an explanation on reflowable versus fixed layout, see eBook Conversion Formats.

  • My formatting was lost. The PDF format is a "destructive" format in the sense that you lose all high-level information. PDFs store characters and coordinates for each character or word. The information contained is very much like a scan of the printed pages. The notions of words, lines, and paragraphs don't exist in the PDF format, much less the flow of text (what follows what). To convert the PDF file into a reflowable format that is viewable on different screen sizes using any font size, our software has to apply "Artificial Intelligence" like algorithms that simulate the way a human reader with knowledge of western typographical conventions would read the text. These algorithms reassemble characters into words, words into lines, lines into paragraphs, and paragraphs into columns. Even though we use a lot of complex algorithms, some of the formatting is still lost. The goal of our software is to extract the text from the PDF without corrupting it and retain a minimum of formatting, which is already an achievement.

  • My tables didn’t convert. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, information about paragraphs, columns, and tables is lost in PDF files. For instance, tables consist of lines drawn at various locations on the page. As of today, our software is unable to determine that the lines drawn on the page form a table.

  • Images are not the same size as in the PDF. The pictures are not the same size either because they had different DPIs (dots per inch, or screen resolution) in the PDF, or because the conversion process had to resize them to keep the size of the file reasonable.

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